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Product launch success is a crucial component for every business. Regardless of your company size or industry, your new product has to build excitement, attract customers, and ring up sales. In order to design a successful product launch, first identify the right elements and strategies that your launch needs. Then consider what hurdles you might face. You can even use examples of other companies’ successful launches to design a plan that will help your new product thrive!

Elements Of A Successful Product Launch

Every successful SaaS product launch requires a plan. So, how do you start developing your launch strategy? To start, consider what makes a product launch successful and the mistakes that could impede that success. Then you can identify what metrics to track throughout the life of your product launch.

When you proactively avoid common product launch pitfalls, you set yourself up for a successful launch. And instead of spending time fixing mistakes, you can focus on measuring the success of your product launch.

Strategies For Product Launch Success

A strong product launch strategy increases your brand awareness and your company’s bottom line. You want to cater both to existing customers and potential customers. From your product development marketing through tracking KPIs, you can design a strategy, establish a plan, and market to the right audience.

Here are 12 strategies for a successful product launch:

1. Establish A Product Launch Plan

One of the key elements to a successful product launch is careful product launch planning. From the design phase through sales tracking, you need a road map to help you stay on the right path.

The first step in establishing a product launch plan is to involve the right people. Launch success isn’t just up to product managers! Include your production department, marketing team, and salespeople in the planning. And ask the group some key questions to hone your launch strategy:

  • Will your launch strategy—and the product itself—increase your brand awareness and bottom line?
  • What marketing channels will you focus on to boost sales? This might include social media marketing, radio or television, ads, or product launch events like tradeshows leading up to your launch day.
  • Which product marketing tools will your sales and marketing team need to succeed?
  • How will you track your product launch success? In other words, what KPIs will you measure, and how will you alter your strategy if you’re falling short of your goals?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can finalize your launch plan and move on to marketing your new product.

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2. Perform Market Research 

Market research is essential to ensure your product is something people need or want. Make sure there’s a demand for your product and that you can sell it at a price that your customers are willing to spend. At this stage, you should seek to answer questions such as how you can serve various groups of customers and how many customers have an unmet need that your product can fill. 

3. Identify Your Target Market 

Know which demographics are likely to purchase your product—this will make all the difference in your marketing strategy and messaging. Being unaware of your target market or marketing to the wrong audience are missteps that will ruin any product launch. 

4. Identify Your Competitors

Don’t make the mistake of lacking insight into your competition. If you don’t identify your competitors, you won’t know what you have to do to earn more sales. Studying your competition’s product and marketing strategy positions you to take advantage of their weaknesses and get customers to favor your product over theirs. 

5. Develop A Marketing Strategy

Marketing drives sales. Every company needs an overall marketing strategy, and every new product needs a specific marketing strategy. Your marketing campaign needs to excite existing customers and attract potential customers. And once you’ve got your target audience’s attention, your marketing strategy should build a relationship with your buyers so that they keep coming back.

Design a marketing strategy to build excitement before the product launch and maintain that excitement throughout the product life cycle.

6. Plan Your Budget

Underestimating the budget needed for product design, production, and marketing is a common pitfall that undermines product launch success. Plan your budget carefully and anticipate any possible deviations from the product launch plan that may affect your spending. 

7. Set Measurable Goals And Benchmarks 

You can evaluate your product launch strategy by determining your overall goals and establishing trackable and attainable benchmarks throughout the launch. A few examples of these benchmarks are the quantity of social media posts about your new product, your website traffic, and your budget versus actual costs.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to constantly evaluate the metrics that you identify. And if you see that your strategy isn’t working as well as you’d hoped, you can always alter the plan.

8. Perform Extensive Product Testing

As a professional product manager, you’re likely aware of the steps to take for a successful product launch. However, human error is always a possibility. When you design your launch plan, be sure to avoid producing a poor-quality product.

A common hurdle that can hinder your success is a product launch controversy. You’ve seen failed product launches over the years because of cell phone batteries that explode, or high-end clothing that causes an allergic reaction. In order to avoid such a catastrophe, make sure your product goes through extensive testing and market research.

Related Read: Product Testing (with Erin Hess from Crema)

9. See What Worked—And Didn’t Work—For Other Companies

Successful product launches can teach a product manager valuable lessons. You can use other companies’ successes to boost your product launch performance. Try to figure out why a launch was successful. What was the company’s social media strategy? Did they advertise on TV or radio? How did they attract both existing and potential customers?

You should also look at what didn’t work for a company. This will help you determine what to focus on and what to avoid. In other words, use recent successful product launches as resources and learning tools to help your launch succeed.

10. Measure The Success Of Your Product Launch 

You can measure the success of your product launch by tracking tangible metrics throughout the product life cycle. Determine whether your website traffic has increased due to excitement about the new product. Make sure you’re earning a high return on investment and profit margins for both the product itself and your advertising efforts.

Each product is unique, so be sure to identify and track KPIs that apply to your product. This will help you measure your successful product launch!

11. Support Your Team 

A new product launch is a big undertaking. Even with a team of skilled product managers and talented marketers, you might face challenges. 

Your marketing, sales, production, and customer service teams will need training on your new product in order to serve your customers and help your product launch performance. So give them the resources they need to succeed!

12. Prepare To Overcome Product Launch Hurdles

Hurdles and challenges are common pain points for all product launches. Fortunately, knowing what pitfalls you might face during your product launch can help you overcome them—or avoid them entirely.

You can overcome product launch hurdles with foresight and planning. First, involve the right people when you develop your launch strategy. Your launch needs to be a collaborative effort, and each team member can help you identify potential hurdles to avoid. Second, stick to the strategy! And if your launch performance isn’t as strong as you’d hoped, make a few tweaks. Try not to change things too much as this could confuse your audience and make the launch even worse.

Being prepared will help you avoid many hurdles and help you bounce back in case your product launch stumbles along the way.

Examples Of Successful Product Launches

As you design your product launch campaign, think about famous and successful brands. For example, what household brand names have had successful product launches? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Apple: They frequently launch new iPhones with great success.
  • Amazon: Amazon Prime has helped the company grow from selling discounted books to one of the biggest retailers in the world.
  • Netflix: Although Netflix started as a mail-based DVD delivery service, it really took off when it started offering online streaming.

Many of the most successful product launches in the last few years involve technology and convenience.

Technology is cool, and consumers love to integrate it into their daily lives. The invention and launch of the iPad changed the way people think about computers. Watches have evolved past timekeeping devices into resources that track your body metrics and can even act as smartphones. And televisions have abandoned their tube design for a sleeker profile with Wi-Fi capabilities.

Other recent successful product launches have focused on people’s desires to stay home and purchase goods and services online. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime and meal delivery services such as HelloFresh and Blue Apron are extremely popular. The more convenient a product is for the consumer, the easier it is to launch—and the more successful the launch can be.

Keep in mind that even if you’re not a giant corporation, you still have plenty of product management tools at your disposal to help your launch succeed.

Collaboration And Good Resources Leads To Product Launch Success

It takes a village to launch a new product. You have to collaborate with multiple team members to design and execute your launch strategy and use the resources available to you throughout your launch campaign.

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By Hannah Clark

Hannah Clark is the Editor of The Product Manager. Following six years of experience in the tech industry, she pivoted into the content space where she's had the pleasure of working with some of the most brilliant voices in the product world. Driven by insatiable curiosity and a love of bringing people together, her mission is to foster a fun, vibrant, and inspiring community of product people.